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Fire Safety Advice: Stay Safe During Fire Strikes 13th and 14th December

West Midlands Fire Service have issued the following press release with regard to the proposed fire strikes on 13th and 14th December:

West Midlands Fire Service is urging festive party-goers to make safety their top priority this Friday and Saturday, with firefighters set to stage a four-hour strike each night.

The next industrial action planned by the Fire Brigades Union in a national dispute over pensions is due to start at 6pm and finish at 10pm on both 13 and 14 December.

Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response) for WMFS, said: “Friday and Saturday nights are among our busiest times of the week. Thousand of people will be out and about getting into the festive spirit, whether they’re partying or late night shopping. And even if people are staying in, watching TV or putting up the Christmas decorations, we’re urging them to stay as safe as possible.

“Public safety is central to our contingency plans, and 999 calls will still be answered as normal. We will be prioritising incidents involving a threat to life, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs. However, we will have fewer fire engines available on both Friday and Saturday night, so it could take us longer than usual to attend incidents.”

Some WMFS staff who are not striking will help to provide a level of emergency response, but the brigade is asking the pubic to do all they can to stay safe and, hopefully, avoid needing to call for help in the first place.

A/Cmdr Burnham added: “People must be vigilant if they’re cooking at home, or later when they get back from a night out. And anyone who’s out for a few drinks needs to be as sensible as possible.”

He also appealed to entertainment venues, restaurants and food outlets, and licensed premises to make staff and customer safety a top priority on Friday and Saturday night. He advised businesses which are usually closed at the weekend to double-check their fire precautions in advance.

Whatever people’s plans during the two strikes, West Midlands Fire Service is asking them to make sure that they, their families and friends take six simple steps towards reducing the risk of fire in their home. The steps, published in detail at www.wmfs.net, are:

1. Protect your home with smoke alarms
2. Take extra care in the kitchen
3. Check your electrics
4. Smoke safely (if you must smoke at all)
5. Sleep safely
6. Plan a safe escape

People are being reminded to make sure that their electrical Christmas decorations meet safety standards, are in good condition and are well-maintained. Plug sockets shouldn’t be overloaded, and candles must be used safely and never left burning in an empty room.

Road users and pedestrians are also being reminded to stay safe if they’re out and about. Traffic collisions make up a significant proportion of all incidents dealt with by West Midlands Fire Service.

Tips for staying safe on the move:

• any amount of alcohol affects your judgement, coordination and ability to drive, so it’s best not to drink and drive at all
• if you’re going out for a drink, nominate a designated driver who won’t drink alcohol, use public transport or a pre-ordered taxi, or stay over with family or friends
• drive appropriately for the road conditions, with seatbelts on and lights if need be
• stick to speed limits – they give you thinking and braking time
• pedestrians: be aware of what’s happening around you at all times, especially when crossing the road
• pedestrians and cyclists: make sure you can be seen – wear bright and reflective clothing; check that your bike lights are working.

More safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Useful information is also issued via the @WestMidsFire Twitter account.

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